Essential Equipment for Cloud Kitchens

cloud kitchen
cloud kitchen

If 2020 showed us anything it is that cloud kitchens are here to stay. Consumer habits have shifted.  For example, app services like DoorDashGrubHub, and UberEats are more popular than ever. The public’s reliance on food delivery is unlikely to fade. Thinking of starting a cloud kitchen? Consider what equipment you will need. Maximize space, efficiency, and food quality in your kitchen.

WHAT IS A CLOUD KITCHEN?

A cloud kitchen (or ghost kitchen) is a professional food preparation facility set up to prepare delivery or takeout meals only. They do not include a storefront or seating for customers. It is not a restaurant brand in itself. For instance, one kitchen space could be home to multiple brands.

Cloud kitchens can work within brick-and-mortar restaurants or function as standalone facilities. Without the overhead of a physical location, cloud kitchens can save money on property expenses, labor, and maintenance. Maximizing the functionality of this small space is important because the average cloud kitchen typically operates in just a few hundred square feet. Winston Foodservice offers three essential equipment lines that would benefit any cloud kitchen.

Winston-Foodservice-CVap-Holding
MAXIMIZE YOUR SPACE

With a limited workspace, this kind of kitchen equipment must be compact and mobile. Winston’s CVap® Cook and Hold Ovens fit the bill. For example, CVap ovens do not require a vent hood*. Vent hoods are very expensive to install and operate. Since CVap ovens don’t require hoods, they can be placed anywhere in a kitchen with sufficient power. CVap ovens are versatile and can be used for multiple cooking techniques. There are many other benefits that CVap ovens provide. Click here to learn more.

*Check local codes.

FRY, FRY AGAIN

Serving fried food? No cloud kitchen that offers fried products is complete without a good fryer. Whether you offer chicken, fish, or potato wedges, Winston’s Collectramatic® fryers are the fryers you need. Collectramatic fryers have a 50-year track record of providing trouble-free performance and consistency. They cook all day with little filtration, therefore saving you on labor and oil. They have an industry reputation for cooking superior foods. Available in open and pressure configurations, there’s a Collectramatic fryer to suit any cloud kitchen.

ghost kitchen food
Winston-Foodservice-HBB5D2-Left-Shadows
KEEP IT WARM, KEEP IT FRESH

Need the accuracy of CVap holding, but limited on space? Our warming drawers are what you need. Winston offers a variety of CVap Hold and Serve Drawers. If you need to keep products crisp or moist, then you need CVap. You can place the drawers under or on top of counters for easy access. Because these drawers are available in wide or narrow configurations, you can rest assured that there’s a model that’s perfect for your space. They include single and double drawer models. Because of their versatility, you can hold a multitude of foods. Whatever you need to keep warm and fresh, from bread to soup, as well as eggs and chips, CVap has you covered. Having hot and ready food can keep deliveries flying out the door.

In conclusion, every operation is unique. Having the right equipment in your cloud kitchen will help your operation function efficiently and profitably. Our team of representatives can guide you to the best equipment to suit your individual needs. Please contact us today to learn how Winston’s products can set your kitchen up for success.

What is a Commercial Pressure Fryer?

Commercial Pressure Fryer
Collectramatic Pressure Fryers

Commercial pressure fryers are very different from household fryers or commercial open fryers.

Fried food’s appeal is universal. You can easily find fried foods anywhere. Southern fried chicken,  beer-battered fish and chips, you name it – thanks to their crispy texture, delicious flavors, and tantalizing aromas. Ultimately, that’s why many restaurants are likely to have fried products on the menu.

If you want to add fried foods to your menu, or are looking to replace existing frying equipment, read on to learn why you should consider a commercial pressure fryer (and specifically, a Collectramatic® Pressure Fryer).

As the name suggests, commercial pressure fryers rely on pressure cooking techniques. Cooking oil cooks food within an enclosed cooking vessel. Once food products are loaded into the fryer, a lid is latched down, creating an air-tight seal. Consequently, as food cooks, it produces steam. Steam builds pressure within the fryer. It is this pressure that speeds the cooking process.

Naturally, the key difference between open (or deep) fryers and commercial pressure fryers is the enclosed pressurized environment. This makes a dramatic difference in the food’s cooking temperature, cooking duration, and the quality and consistency of the end product.

The Science Behind Pressure Frying

Want to know why foods cooked in a pressure fryer are so much tastier than their open-fried counterparts? Curious about why pressure frying is so much more efficient?

  1. The pressure built up in the enclosed fryer increases the boiling point of water. This means water exceeds 212°F before turning to steam. Because of that, most of the food’s liquids that would have been evaporated at a lower boiling point in an open fryer are retained as internal moisture, resulting in a much juicer end product.
  2. Pressure build-up internally also helps increase the overall temperature of the steam inside the fryer, allowing the food to cook faster. Similarly, pressure cookers also maintain the same temperatures and pressures with every batch, ensuring consistency across all batches. In contrast, open frying lacks consistency, as temperatures can be easily affected by the environment.

Check out this fun video for a basic explanation of pressure frying.

Why Should You Get a Pressure Fryer for Your Commercial Kitchen?

Still undecided on whether a pressure fryer is right for your restaurant?
Read on to learn why many operators have opted to invest in this equipment.

Faster Cook Times

During rush periods, there is no time to lose. Food has to be out of the kitchen as quickly as possible. You do not want an open fryer slowing service.

The good news is that commercial pressure fryers cook much faster, allowing you to speed up your production and serve more customers.

Better and More Consistent Flavor

Any operator will tell you that flavor and consistency are key to customer satisfaction. While that is not easily achieved,  pressure fryers can help you get it right every time. This is thanks to its heating and pressure systems, and computerized programming. Serving consistently juicy, crispy fried foods in every batch is made easy.

Healthier

Calling fried foods healthy sounds like a stretch. However, it is essential to note that pressure frying is a healthier cooking method than other high-volume fryers. Pressure frying heats food’s internal moisture and uses that moisture to cook from within. This creates vapor pressure within the food product. This pressure, pushing outward from the food’s interior, helps prevent oil from soaking into the food, ultimately lowering the amount of fat absorbed into the product, as compared to open frying.

Cost-Effective

Certainly, oil reduction is not just a health benefit. On the other hand, it is also a significant cost-benefit. Using less oil and the maintaining oil quality for longer periods helps save on oil consumption overall. Similarly, faster cooking times also help to lower energy consumption. How’s that for cost-effective?

Convinced of the benefits that a pressure fryer can bring to your operation? The next step is to find a suitable fryer. When it comes to an important investment like this, there are several key areas you need to note. We, of course, recommend our Collectramatic Pressure Fryers.

Features

Certain features enhance the effectiveness of pressure fryers. Look for features that help your team reduce their workload.

Winston’s Collectramatic LP56 High-Efficiency Pressure Fryer include the following features:

  • The patented cold zone uses gravity filtration to prevent cracklings from scorching and ruining your oil. This allows up to 360 lbs. of chicken (or other food products) to be fried between filtrations.
  • 6-head capacity (or 18 lbs. of food product)
  • 75 lbs. shortening (or oil) capacity
  • 8 preprogrammed (and programable) channels
  • Choice of clamshell or quarter-rack basket systems. Quarter-rack systems minimize tonging and handling of chicken. Shelves can be moved from basket to sheet pan without tonging each piece individually.
  • Built-in safety features, such as an automatic shutoff if the fryer gets too hot (over 410°F), and an alarm that automatically disengages the heaters if they are inadvertently allowed to be exposed to air.

Add a Winston Shortening Filter to get the most from your Winston fryer. The filter is built for mobility. Consequently, you can use a single filter unit to service multiple fryers.

foodservice products Collectramatic LP46 Pressure Fryer foodservice products

The Most Trusted Brand

Winston offers commercial fryers in both pressure and open configurations. Check out their entire fryer product line here.

For over 50 years, Collectramatic Fryers have been leaders in the foodservice industry. Originally designed for Harland Sanders (yes, Colonel Sanders), they’re a reliable workhorse. Built with only a few moving parts, they last for decades (with regular care and maintenance, of course). Simple to operate, clean, and maintain, Collectramatic fryers will keep you frying, and keep your customers happy and fed.

Five Things to Know When Purchasing a Commercial Fryer

Chicken is a customer favorite. According to the National Chicken Council, Americans now consume nearly 100 pounds per capita annually. Customers consume more chicken than beef or pork every year. This is why operators should make serving the best chicken a priority. Offering this customer favorite comes with a few “need to knows” that every foodservice professional should consider before purchasing a fryer.

1. Pressure fryers produce better chicken (and cost less to operate).
  • Collectramatic Pressure Fryers consistently produce tastier chicken. The fryer design makes a difference in food quality. Expert operators have told us how they can taste the difference between chicken cooked in a Collectramatic fryer and other pressure fryers.
  • In pressure fryers, a pressurized bubble forms around chicken, trapping in natural juices, nutrients, and flavor. There is minimal flavor transfer, and chicken cooks faster than in open fryers. The frying process decreases wait times, while producing consistently good chicken.
  • Collectramatic Pressure Fryers typically cost less to operate. The TCO on these fryers is low, offsetting up-front costs. Pressure fryers cook chicken at a lower temperature than open fryers, requiring less energy over the life of the fryer. Lower temperatures also extend shortening life.
2. Open fryers make good chicken too.
  • If a pressure fryer is not an option, commercial open fryers produce delicious chicken as well. There are many different commercial open fryers. Collectramatic Open Fryers, like the OF59C, are made for high-volume operations. Chicken isn’t the only delicious fried food. Some food products, like jalapeno poppers or butterfly shrimp, are best when open fried.
3. Programmable presets are important.
  • When purchasing a commercial fryer, operators should look for fryers with programmable presets. These presets ensure a consistently high-quality product and reduce the amount of training and labor. Look for units with enough storage channels to add future presets to accommodate menu changes.
4. Clean oil is an essential part of producing good chicken.
  • Oil (or shortening) is a factor to consider during the buying process and daily operations. Clean oil produces better chicken. Collectramatic fryers use simple gravity filtration to keep oil fresh longer, extending the length of time between mechanical filtrations.
  • Oil starts to break down when cooking temperatures exceed 360°F. For that reason, Collectramatic fryers have a maximum temperature of 360°F. Most cook cycles involve settings lower than this temperature. When oil breaks down, it should be filtered promptly to ensure a quality, consistent product. Oil life can also be extended by maintaining a consistent level and avoiding overfilling cookpots.
5. It’s important to keep chicken fresh and at a correct hot temperature before serving.
  • For some operations, serving quality chicken only concerns frying, because the product is immediately served. Other operations require a heated merchandiser or holding cabinet that keeps chicken at the correct safe temperature. One of Winston’s other product lines is CVap® holding and cooking equipment. CVap Holding Cabinets are particularly well-suited for holding fried chicken. CVap’s unique dual-heat system keeps chicken hot and just-cooked fresh for extended periods. This helps you power through rush periods with minimal delays and no sacrifice in food quality.

Why Choose Winston Collectramatic Pressure Fryers?

commercial pressure fryer

American-built Quality

Winston manufacturers all our fryers and controls in our Louisville, Kentucky headquarters/ We don’t rely on third-party vendors. Rigorous engineering and testing assure that each fryer we sell is built to the highest quality standards. Our experienced, dedicated workforce build pride into every product we ship.

commercial pressure fryer

We Make Life Easy for Servicers

No matter what brand of commercial fryer you choose, at some point it will need to be serviced by a skilled technician. Collectramatic Pressure Fryers are well known in the industry as being easy to work on. So, when the time comes for maintenance, your technician will thank you.

collectramatic

Smaller Footprint

Bulky cooking appliances that take up too much space in your commercial kitchen cause problems – safety concerns, workflow disruptions, and frustration, to name a few.

Collectramatic Pressure Fryers have a well-engineered, compact design with a smaller overall footprint than our competitors, to help alleviate these issues. They offer more production from a smaller footprint.

collectramatic cookpot

Round Cookpot Offers Consistent Cooking

Say goodbye to cold spots or undercooked chicken. Our commercial pressure fryers feature a round cookpot. Since there are no corners, heat is evenly distributed. This produces chicken that is crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, every time. Cylindrical cookpots have a big advantage over square fryers when it comes to durability. Because pressure is distributed evenly throughout the cookpot, there are no corners to stress and eventually fail.

Contact Winston Foodservice Today

For over 50 years, Winston has provided reliable equipment to help foodservice operators meet the growing demands of their customers. Our sales team and global network of sales representatives are happy to consult with you and help you figure out the best equipment to meet your goals.

Fill out a contact form, or call 800-234-5286 to speak with a member of our team.

Deep Fried Turkey

fried turkey with pecan honey glaze

I have wanted to deep fry a turkey since I took on the role of Corporate Research Chef here at Winston. You see, Winston was built on pressure fryers. For example, the company’s first product was the Collectramatic® Fryer, designed for Colonel Sanders himself. I’m happy to have had the experience!

Cooking a turkey is a production, no matter what the cooking method. From hauling the turkeys in from the grocery to picking the carcass and ensuring all that hard work is appreciated. However, it typically only happens once a year, for a special occasion. So we can justify the extra work, and expense, and clean up. Certainly, this is a monumental task if you’re doing it in an outside fryer at home. On the other hand, a commercial kitchen is much more conducive to this work!

fried turkey fixins

Settings and Procedures:

Products:

Note: It is critical that turkeys be completely thawed. Placing a frozen bird into hot oil can cause a major flash fire. For obvious reasons, this should be avoided!

Pressure Fried Procedure – 2 Smaller Turkeys:

  • Set up the Collectramatic Fryer Program and Preheat:
    • Total Fry Time: 50 Minutes
    • 1 Step @ 350°F for 10 Minutes – Pressure
    • 2 Step @ 276°F for 40 Minutes – Pressure
    • 3 Step @ 276°F for 0 Minutes – Open
  • Remove the turkey from ALL packaging,  and any “extra” turkey parts (i.e.; pop-up timer, plastic binder, neck piece, and parchment-wrapped offal (giblets, liver, and heart)). You don’t want these “extras” to be immersed in hot oil.
  • Place turkey in a pan while the fryer is heating. Dab off any excess moisture on the outside.
    • Hold turkey up and allow the internal cavity to drain off any excess water. The goal is for the turkey to be as dry as possible before immersing in hot oil.
  • When ready, transfer turkey to open basket and with gloved hands, lower the basket into the Collectramatic, close and lock the lid. Next, hit the program channel to start the timer.
  • Once finished, hook the basket, and allow to drain for a couple of minutes before transferring to another landing pad. Finally, allow to drain a few more minutes, until final presentation and slicing to serve.

Notethe 10 to 14lbs turkey is the largest whole bird you can fry in the Collectramatic. Consequently, anything larger will be a sizing challenge. BUT there’s another way to address these larger birds.

drying the bird
lower the bird in the basket

CVap Staging

  • Set up the CVap – either CHV or RTV. We used the RTV7-05UV:
    • Cook Time: 2.5-3 Hours
    • Vapor Temp – Cook: 190°F
    • Air Temp – Cook: 200°F
  • While the CVap oven is preheating, address Big Bird:
    • Remove the turkey from ALL packaging, and any “extra” turkey parts (i.e.; pop-up timer, plastic binder, neck piece, and parchment-wrapped offal (giblets, liver, and heart)).
    • Begin by spatchcocking the turkey. Next, cut equally in half, add each half to a hotel pan
  • Place both pans in heated CVap oven and start the cook cycle.
    • Keep tabs on the internal temperature of the turkey after cooking for an hour or so. If you’re using a Series 7 oven, a food temp probe is great option. Otherwise, use an accurate thermometer.
    • You’re looking for an internal temp at or greater than 165°F, measured at three separate sites, per FoodSafety.Gov “the innermost part of the thigh, wing and thickest part of the breast.”
    • At these settings, it should take between 2.5 – 3 hours.

Deep Frying Procedure – Larger Turkey (Open Fry)

  • Set up the Collectramatic Fryer Program and preheat (towards the last 30 minutes on CVap cook cycle):
    • Set to Open Fry @ 350°F
  • Remove the staged turkey from the oven.
    • There will be a good amount of residual cooking liquid (+/- 2 cups or so from each pan). You can discard, or reserve to make gravy that is da bomb.
    • Transfer the halved turkey to a dry spot and dab with a dry towel if any excess moisture is noticed.
    • Next, use a knife to quarter the turkey. Allow draining a bit more before moving to the open baskets for frying.
    • Open Fry @ 350°F for 7-10 minutes.
  • Once finished, hook the basket, and allow to drain for a couple of minutes before transferring to another landing pad. Finally, allow to drain a few more minutes, until final presentation and slicing to serve. 
Cutting up the bird
staging in the oven
lowering basket for fried turkey
fried turkey draining

Final Words and Fancy Glazes

Pressure-fried turkeys had a golden crisp skin, moist meat, and an impressive presentation. On the other hand, staged and deep-fried turkeys were just a golden, but the skin was even more crispy, and the meat was more tender and moist. The final presentation was just as beautiful. Ultimately, either way was a delicious success! 

Serving with a sauce? Try this simple recipe for Honey Butter Pecan Glaze:

  • 1 cup Honey
  • ¾ cup Butter, unsalted
  • 1 cup Pecans, rough chops (we used roasted & salted)

Heat honey and allow to boil for about a minute. Next, reduce heat to barely a simmer while whisking in the butter, a few pats at a time, until incorporated.

Add the nuts and bring to a boil one last time for about another minute. Finally, remove from heat and allow to cool and thicken a bit before glazing turkey or serve on the side…so good!

simmering sauce
bubbling butter
fried turkey with honey pecan glaze
chef samantha brown

About the Author

Corporate Research Chef Samantha Brown carries dual degrees. One is from Sullivan University, in Culinary Arts. The other, in Food Science, is from the University of Kentucky. Chef Sam has years of foodservice and product development experience.

Fun Fact – Chef Sam was featured in an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives with host Guy Fieri (Farm to Table, episode 909).

Chicken & Waffles – Damn It’s Good

Chicken and Waffles and Tots

On a recent quiet Friday afternoon, we cooked up a favorite dish – Fried Chicken and Waffles. This sweet and savory dish is increasingly popular, but has been around (in some variation) for hundreds of years. The familiar soul food version dates from the Wells Supper Club in Harlem, New York, in 1938. In order to really push this cardiac-busting meal over the top, we added a side of tater tots.

We utilized several pieces of our equipment. Our Collectramatic Fryers are famous for making the world’s best chicken, so that was a no-brainer.

Although our fryers were engineered specifically to cook chicken, you can cook other stuff in them too. In this case, a tasty side of tater tots.

Chicken and Waffles and Tots, Oh My

The Process – Chicken

The fryer was programmed for chicken strips/filets (for full details on those settings, see the guidelines in the Fryer Owner’s Manual, page 20). As the fryer preheated, we prepared the chicken.

Starting with several whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts, we trimmed the fat and cut into ¾” wide strips. The chicken strips marinated for about 30 minutes in smoked pickle juice. It’s a well-known secret that pickle brine is the special je ne sais quoi that gives Chick-Fil-A’s chicken its addictive flavor. We aimed for a similar flavor profile.

trimming the chicken
Brining the chicken

After marinading, the strips were ready for breading. The breading was a blend of seasoned flour, salt, and a little Dan-O’s Original Seasoning. To properly bread, we used a four-pass dredge.

  1. Pickle Juice
  2. Seasoned Flour
  3. Pickle Juice
  4. Seasoned Flour

These were cooked under pressure, in a clamshell basket.

The Process – Tots

Tater tots hit the fryer next. These were cooked open, in a clamshell basket. They cooked in about five minutes at 325°F. The results were perfect.

The tots took a little trial and error. We initially cooked a batch in an open basket. Though the tots came out perfectly cooked, the lack of separation caused them to stick together. The resulting mass was about the size of a human head. This was fine for an informal afternoon cooking session, but wouldn’t have been ideal to serve to customers. 

Unable to resist them, Marketing Manager Ryan consumed roughly half of the tater tot ball. Blessed with the metabolism of a hummingbird, he constantly “tested” the tots to verify that, yes, they still tasted great.

tots-for-days
waffles in CVap

The Process – Waffles

The waffles were of the frozen variety. We went CVap on those, retherming them in an RTV Retherm Oven, then moving them into an HOV Holding Cabinet while we prepped stuff for the fryer.

The frozen waffles were quick and easy to prep. The RTV oven was preheated to 200°F Vapor, 325°F air temp. After a quick seven minutes, they were done. We moved them to the HOV holding cabinet (preheated to 100°F vapor temp, 150°F air temp). They stayed hot and fresh until we were ready to assemble.

The Results

The final assembled dish was simple, easy, and delicious. The chicken strips were placed on the bed of waffles, and dribbled with maple syrup (the real stuff, not that fake high fructose crap). A generous side of tots completed the dish.

We had to taste the results. They were, of course, delicious.

What the Turducken!

Holidays are a time for tradition. We decided it was start a new one. We cooked the infamous turducken. In case you aren’t familiar, that’s a turkey, duck, and chicken all rolled into one. Sound too good to be true? Honestly, we thought so too!

This isn’t a task to take on unless you are fully committed to the challenge. Patience is your friend while preparing the turducken.

Process

Debone the birds– turkey, chicken, and duck. We did this the day before to save time. Depending on your expertise, this can take from 45 to 90 minutes.

turducken birds still have their bones
turducken birds sans bones

Stuffing is placed between each meat layer. Feel free to put your own spin on the stuffing. We also made a double batch for each turkey to ensure we had enough for each layer.

  • Stuffing mix of your choice (we used corn bread)
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • Fresh parsley
  • Fresh sage
  • Minced garlic
  • Paprika
  • Pepper
  • Salt

Now for the Turducken!

  • Season each piece of meat with salt and pepper.
  • Lay turkey out flat so it’s ready for the stuffing.
  • Pat the first layer of stuffing on the turkey.
layering stuffing into the turducken
  • Place chicken thighs on top half of turkey, and chicken breasts on the lower half.
adding another layer to the turducken
  • Pat a second layer of stuffing on top of the turkey-chicken combo.
  • Place the duck in the middle of the stuffing layer.
  • Add the last layer of stuffing.
folding up the turducken
folding up the turducken more
stitching the turducken
skewering the turducken
sealed turducken
  • Begin pulling up sides of turkey to secure everything inside with twine or skewers.
  • Season outside of turkey – we used paprika, salt, and pepper.
seasoned turduckens

Settings

We doubled up and made two turduckens. One was cooked using a CVap® Cook and Hold Oven.  The other was staged in the CVap oven and then fried in a Collectramatic®  Pressure Fryer.

The roasted turducken was cooked on high yield at 170°F doneness and 4 level browning for six hours, then held overnight for eight hours at 150°F doneness and 1 level browning.

The staged and fried turducken was staged at 165°F and 0 browning overnight for 14 hours and then finished in the fryer for three minutes.

Roasted Turducken –82% yield

roasted turducken
roasted turducken interior

Staged & Fried Turducken– 84% yield

fried turducken
fried turducken
fried turducken interior

Fried Chicken and Steamed Rice Held in CVap Stay So Nice!

Cvap Steaming rice

Uncle Jack Fried Chicken is a Malaysian restaurant chain. They use our Collectramatic pressure fryers. Ordinarily, they serve chicken from a display warmer. To maximize holding time, they limit the warmer to 35°C (95°F), putting a limit on the amount of time they could hold chicken before it was no longer fit to sell. We suggested they test our CVap holding cabinet, in the hopes of extending holding time and improving food quality. We tested fried chicken and steamed rice. The results were exciting!

Holding Cabinet Preparation

The CVap cabinet was set at food temperature 54°C (129°F) and food texture at + 28°C (82°F). We gave the cabinet 45 minutes to preheat.

12:05pm: 

The chicken moved from the fryer to the holding cabinet (15 pieces). Chicken was crispy outside, moist inside. The meat was very hot to touch. The taste was really good.

12:10pm: 

Cooked rice (wrapped in oil paper) was put into the same holding cabinets with fried chicken. Initial rice quality was moist, sticky, and fragrant.

13:05pm: (holding 60 minutes)

The chicken was still crispy outside (though slightly less crisp than when first removed from fryer). Interior was still hot, and the color was unchanged. The chicken breading remained crisp.

13:05pm: (holding 60 minutes)

Chicken was still crispy and moist. Color was good. Food retained flavor, with minimal freshness loss.

13:55pm (holding for 2 hours)

The skin remained crispy, though not as crisp as when initially fried. Flavor and moisture were still good. Color had not darkened.

14:00pm (rice held for 2 hours)

Rice was hot and tasted fresh. Not dried out at all.

15:35pm (3.5 hour holding time)

The chicken tasted good. Its skin remained crispy, and its meat, moist. Although it was not “just cooked” fresh after 3.5 hours, it was still at a safe temperature. It remained appetizing enough to serve.

15:40pm (after holding for 3.5 hours)

Rice was hot, and texture was good.

CVap Holding Cabinet Test Conclusions

Electricity Consumption: 800 watts

Holding Capacity per Cabinet: 13 full-size sheet pans, each rack equals one basket (4 heads) chicken or 338 pieces

Goals for Future Testing

  1. Extending the holding time for the chicken without compromising the texture, taste, and food safety.
  2. Testing other products, (wrapped rice was incorporated).
  3. Improving staff workflow.
  4. Staff can pre-prepare chicken during lean hours in preparation for peak hours, shortening the waiting time while producing the best-tasting fried chicken.
  5. During lean hours, customers can still savor the taste of freshly fried chicken.
  6. Minimize food shrinkage.
  7. Minimize food waste.
  8. Consequently, extension of holding times for other foods is possible since CVap cabinets are versatile enough to hold both crispy and moist foods. So holding fried chicken and steamed rice together was not a problem!

One Final Note – CVap Technology is Great, But It’s Not Magic.

The very nature of fried foods (crisp outside with moist interior) promotes evaporation. CVap technology is the best available to maximize holding time, but even CVap, using the necessary high differential setting (the difference of food texture setting over the food temperature setting) will eventually lose the battle to maintain food temp and freshness. It’ll hold fresh longer than the competitors, but if the food is crunchy (fried chicken, French fries, etc), it can only be held for so long.

On the other hand, moist foods, such as rice or noodles, are perfect for CVap and can be held for many hours with no loss of temperature or quality.

The consensus of the Uncle Jack test was that it was possible to lengthen the chicken’s holding time. More testing is needed to perfect the texture, taste, and crispiness.

Bringing the Heat with Nashville Hot Chicken

Nashville hot chicken

Winter may be waning, but the popularity of Nashville Hot Chicken sure isn’t. We decided to try our hand at preparing a big batch. It was as good (and hot!) as promised.

Nashville Hot Chicken’s History

Nashville Hot Chicken’s powerful poultry story originated nearly seven decades ago, at Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack. Apparently Thorton Prince was quite the lady’s man. Tiring of his late night escapades, his gal served him up a Sunday breakfast of fried chicken, generously doused in cayenne pepper and other fiery spices. Her revenge backfired – rather than crying out in pain, he loved it. Consequently the inspiration for Nashville Hot Chicken was born. If you’re interested, read the whole story on Prince’s website. Numerous other restaurants and chains, inspired by Prince’s, have put their own twist on this Nashville classic.

The Process

We brined the chicken in the fridge overnight using a simple 6% brine. Learn everything you need to know about brining on our friends’ site Genuine Ideas (browse under their food header).

We lightly dusted the chicken with seasoned flour. After that we dipped it in a simple blend of eggs, buttermilk and hot sauce.

Subsequently, we tossed lightly again in breading mix, giving us a light double-breaded chicken. Double-breading creates a nice robust crunch once the chicken is fried.

Properly prepped, the chicken was ready for the Collectramatic® Fryer.

breaded hot chicken
nashville hot chicken fresh from the fryer

We fried the chicken for 15 minutes at 325°F. It emerged from the fryer a mouth-watering golden brown. After allowing excess oil to drip away, we painted the spicy special sauce on with a pastry brush.

The hot chicken was as good as we hoped, delivering a delicious heat that delighted our taste buds while making our faces flush and our brows sweat.

This chicken can be held for two hours in a CVap® Holding Cabinet. After frying, place it directly in a CVap set to 135 +50. Apply the sauce just before serving.

Here’s a pared-down version of the recipe (in case you’re not feeding an army).

Nashville Hot Chicken Recipe

  • 2 – 3 1/2-4-pound chickens, each cut into ten pieces (breasts halved)
  • 1 gallon of 6% brine
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk or whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar-based hot sauce (such as Tabasco or Texas Pete)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika. (You may use your own special flour mix if you’d like).
  • Vegetable oil (for frying; about 10 cups) (unless, of course, you have a Collectramatic fryer handy).
  • 6 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

The Process

  1. Whisk eggs, buttermilk, and hot sauce in a large bowl. Subsequently, whisk flour and remaining four teaspoons salt in another large bowl.
  2. If you’re not using a Collectramatic fryer, fit a Dutch oven with frying thermometer. After that pour in oil to about two inches depth. Heat over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 325°F.
  3. Pat chicken dry. Working with one piece at a time, dredge in flour mixture, shaking off excess, and then dip in buttermilk mixture, letting excess drip back into bowl.
  4. Subsequently dredge again in flour mixture and place on a baking sheet.
  5. Working in four batches and returning oil to 325°F between batches, fry chicken, turning once after 15 minutes until skin is deep golden brown and crisp. Check with an instant-read thermometer inserted into thigh pieces to verify that the inner temp registers at least 185°F (165°F for white meat). This usually takes ten more minutes after the turn, for a total cook time of 25 minutes.
  6. Transfer to a clean wire rack set inside a baking sheet.
  7. After that, remove oil from heat and let it cool slightly.
  8. Whisk cayenne, brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder, and paprika in a medium bowl.
  9. Carefully whisk in 1 cup hot frying oil or melted lard.
  10. Just before serving, brush fried chicken with spicy oil. Serve with bread and pickles.

Enjoy!